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Mental Health

Mental and Emotional Health Is Important An adolescent with good mental and emotional health is able to cope with and adjust to the ordinary demands of everyday living in an ac- ceptable way. Adolescents who have good emotional and mental health are in control of their thoughts and behaviors. They feel positive about themselves and have good relationships.

Adolescents Can Have Mental Health Problems Like adults, adolescents can have mental health disorders that interfere with the way they think, feel, and act. When untreated, mental health disorders can lead to school failure, family conflict, drug abuse, vio- lence, and even suicide.

Studies show that at least one in five children and adolescents have a mental health disorder. At least one in 10, or about 6 million people, have a serious emotional disturbance.

Parents are usually the first to recognize that their adolescent has a problem with emotions or behavior. The decision to seek professional help can be difficult and painful for a parent. The first step is to talk with the adolescent.

Warning Signs:

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Feelings of hopelessness Unable to cope with problems and daily activities Marked change in sleeping and/or eating habits Many physical complaints Vandalism Sexual acting out Depression - sad or negative mood Strong fear of gaining weight, restricting food,

purging/vomiting food after eating

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Frequent nightmares Marked change in school performance

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